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Maladaptive behavior: as positive behavior

Why do we need to understand the value of maladaptive behavior?

Maladaptive behavior generally seems to be a problem but is extremely valuable too. We could call it ‘Steve Job-ness.’ Steve Job was an ultimately stubborn guy. Not a great company. Yet brilliant and way ahead of his time. And the author of the term ‘crazy ones,’ probably referring to himself too.

The digest of Steve Job’s success, to me, was this question: How to find a balance between openness and straightforwardness? When to give up some ideas? And open up? And when to ignore everything? Be stubborn? Keep on going still ‘till it works?

Maladaptive behavior can be as positive or negative. A positive evaluation of maladaptive behavior could be the result of skillfully managing one’s Steve-Job-ness.

Also, the maladaptive behavior of Grant Cordone has been put in a different frame of reference since his book ‘Be obsessed or Be Average. Why stay small? Why adjust so much? And keep each other ‘normal’? Maladaptive behavior can be precious and assess is from a somewhat neutral frame of reference. However difficult that might be. Because the result of ‘mainstreaming’ effects is a cliché-like society or planet is losing its adaptive potential.

The decisive element of maladaptive behavior is the refusal to settle and adjust an idea or vision to the more generally accepted opinions. And to create something new and meaningful with that original idea the person is with a commitment too. However powerful and attractive this might be, there also is a downside to maladaptive behavior.

Maladaptive Behavior: as Negative behavior

Currently, there is a tendency to consider the so-called “emotional tension”. Specially in individuals with non-pathological neurotic manifestations as an adaptive response. While making an effort to adapt to and connect with others in a specific setting an individual shows inevitable emotional tensions within.

Now, this tension is not healthy per sé. We are talking about a psychological reaction similar to the process of inflammation. Inflammation is, despite its protective nature, also dangerous. Because it causes illness of the body and can even lead to physical death. The analogy between inflammation and emotional tension from adaptive behavior is quite insightful. It can be as an assessment tool.

To assess the adaptive behavior in stressful situations being ‘mal’. Or not we can use the norm of fever being healthy as long as it is manageable and ending in a reasonable short term.

Also, for Forwarding Thinkers, it is important to understand that neurosis (often dynamic thinkers are familiar with) itself can a kind of adaptive reaction. Since the emerging symptom, acting as a dominant, as a rule, pushes the individual’s urgent problems, offering himself as a kind of “harmless” substitute for the “harsh realities of life.” 

The Evolutionary Importance of Healthy or Maladaptive Behavior

The method of psychological adaptation begins only after the individual unconditionally accepts the conditions of his existence. (That is, the behavior comes with the requirements of the circumstances.) The further tasks of the adaptation process are up to the selection. Also the development, and consolidation of new stereotypes of behavior aimed at successively changing those positions of reality, which are subject to change.

Only that individual and his relationship with the environment, when there is no need to compensate for the discrepancy, can improve and improve. Perfection is a movement in the continuum of correspondence. 

“This is the mode of action,” wrote A.A. Ukhtomsky – “to depart from what is in a person, and on it let him reach up to the higher. This is true evolution.” 

Taking this to heart helps to see the importance of practicing this balance. Inside the Black Sheep Community we have a special forum devoted to this specific topic. You are welcome to participate in and benefit from that dialogue with a free account.

Concept of Adaptation

In general, the very idea of adaptation presupposes the existence, on the one hand, of the conditions to which this adaptation should be carried out (“conditions of existence”).

On the other hand, of the “interests” of the adaptable, which, of course, are primarily the interests of its survival and success (physical, social, etc.). However, in a significant part of the cases, dissatisfaction, which is the main sign of the lack of full adaptation of the individual, is dictated by the stalemate. And his “interests” that cannot be satisfied, at least in the form in which they would “suit” the person. 

Not a change in the “conditions of existence,” but deliverance from these needs — is bringing the given psychic organization. Following the requirements of the “conditions of existence” (accommodation), showing the power and importance of mental health once more.

You can satisfy only that need, that “interest,” which can be there for satisfaction. Thus, to cultivate one’s mind is not a simple adaptation to the “conditions of existence,” but a reconstruction of the adaptable, to eliminate his intentions to the unattainable.

This is where personal or individual mental processes can get locked off from more general philosophical thought processes, causes again more unhealthy maladaptive behavior.

Concluding KEY

Finally, it must be seen that the aforementioned “alignment” is a process that requires freedom essentially.

The driving force for changing a maladaptive behavioral pattern cannot be a feeling of dissatisfaction. But only a person’s desire to change his behavior (at all its levels and in all aspects) to achieve specific goals he wants. So here we find the key to turning negative maladaptive behavior into positive maladaptive behavior. This is something, all Forward Thinkers should want to experience.

The key lies in the freedom of wanting something. Also in the freedom to chose to surrender to a certain purpose, to follow a dream, to passionately act upon a vision. That freedom allows the balance in ‘Steve Job-ness’; creating beautiful, new, and meaningful things, and staying healthy (and free) on the other. An unfree commitment to a however beautiful goal or purpose will have considerable costs. A free commitment causing some emotional tension in the process of getting it done is much less likely to cause problems for the individual ánd its surroundings

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